watercolor illustration

WSQ Fall/Winter 2016 Illustration

I'm excited to share the spread I did for Washington Square, the alumni magazine for San Jose State University. I was contacted about an article they were doing on Moss Landing Marine Labs celebrating their 50th anniversary. The school administers the Masters of Science program for California universities in northern and central California. 

I received a brief and worked through some ideas. There was a three week turnaround from when they initially contacted me until the final files were due. I kind of love a short deadline. It makes me a little crazy, but I also power it out and get it done.

They highlighted the areas they wanted me to focus on: vessels and sharks. I love painting boats and at first thought I would just paint some spot illustrations of their different vessels and other marine life. 

After researching about Moss Landing Marine Labs, some fun loose sketches. I really liked the way the boats turned out. I love drawing with my paintbrush, without starting with a pencil. I feel like it makes the paintings really fresh. I also tested out a variety of blues to see which shades I might use. 

More sketches. As I researched, I was really interested in their Point Sur boat. It has been all over the world, including Antarctica, and I wanted to include the scope of that in the spread. I also wanted to include the Ninja Lanternshark since a student of MLML named Victoria Vasquez discovered and named it. Plus, it's a pretty cool species that looks quite sinister and glows to disguise itself.

I sketched the sign post at Moss Landing. I really wanted to include it, but it just didn't make sense in the final. 

As I started to think of ideas, I liked the idea of the illustration being from the ship's bow. The editor and creative director expressed interest in both the article and the issue having a look of deep exploration, to boldly go where no man has gone before, so I thought I could accomplish that by having the reader feel like they were the explorer. You can see above the rough idea of being on a boat and looking at Moss Landing Marine Labs.

My presentation of imagery for the first draft meeting included a variety of color spot illustrations to show my style and a black and white image to show layout. The loved it, a huge sigh of relief.

If you look back on the first photo, you can see my original layout draft on the left. They loved the initial two sketches, but asked that the deep sea diver be moved to the second page. They mentioned they wanted the feeling of going wide and deep. I thought being on the boat with Moss Landing on the left and Antarctica on the right would convey that well. The second page of the spread would express going deep with the deep sea diver and the Ninja Lanternshark below. They live at 1,000 feet below, so it worked perfectly.

Here's the second draft. I moved the whale tail to the right, since it was too close to shore in the first draft. It was great to get really positive feedback from the staff and creative director. 

One of the biggest challenges was making sure there was enough space for the text of all 50 facts. I kept wanting to take over the paper and make it a whole painting. 

The creative director asked me to illustrate the title and the numbers for the spread. I cut out the words and played around with different layouts and angles of text. I ended up scanning the letters and numbers and cleaning them up in Photoshop and then they were vectorized in Illustrator. 

These are the final paintings that were used. I think some of the colors surprised me. The kelp is a brighter green than I thought it would be, but I think it works since it does glow when the sun shines through it from above.

In addition to the Moss Landing article, they asked me to illustrate their donor envelope. SJSU has a program where dogs....This is the final. I sketched it quickly once in my sketchbook and then this is the final, which of course got scanned and cleaned up. The great thing about illustration work is that your "finals" can look like the above and digital editing takes out all the marks and stains on the paper. 

And the printed final...

Dog envelope 1.jpg

Here's one of the dogs for the giving envelope.

And the second dog. SJSU has therapy dogs in residence.

They asked to use my full moon painting for their memorial page. 

And the final Moss Landing spread...

It was fun to contribute to the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Washington Square. I spent so much time on this campus: as an undergrad and grad student, then I worked at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library for 5 years. It was an honor to make this work for SJSU. 

100 Day Project: Days 11-20

I have been having fun with the 100 Day Project. Actually, it has caused some anxiety since I haven't been making work daily as planned. Some of these Oblique Strategies cards have really stumped me! I have been finishing up some bigger projects and events lately so this project has not been as "daily" as I would have liked. Still, I've now completed 21 total and I'm happy to share with you 11-20 in this post. Even though I still have 79 to go, I am intrigued to see where this project will go. What has been really exciting is to follow others participating who are ahead of me. Many of these artists' projects have taken such exciting turns! I have a good feeling about the future of this project and I want to dedicate myself to doing it daily from now on. Search the hashtag #100dayproject on Instagram to see what everyone else is doing. 

Last week, I announced in my newsletter that I will be selling the first 20 today, June 9th, at noon. They will be $20 each and sold on a first come first serve basis on my website. If you have connected with any of these paintings, now is your chance to get your hands on one!

Day 11 Repetition is a form of change

This one feels pretty self-explanatory. I wanted to give the dominoes a nice vintage feel with that yellowed look. I love this phrase. It's like when you practice something you get better at it until it becomes an actual thing. 

Day 12 Simple subtraction

This was a pretty easy one to come up with. Every morning I make coffee in a French press. It's a ritual to start my day right. I was really happy with the galaxy-like quality of my camp coffee mug. I really enjoyed letting go of perfect perspective and working with that deep blue. 

Day 13 Decorate, decorate

Originally, I wanted to paint something really elaborate and decorative, but instead decided to paint my living room. It looks more vibrant in this painting than in person. 

Day 14 Slow preparation...fast execution

Since I often paint portrait, I figure that is my slow preparation and here is my fast execution. This was the fastest drawing or painting I have made yet for this project. It wasn't nearly as satisfying as a lot of these have been, but sometimes you just have to knock 'em out and move on. 

Day 15 Is it finished?

This is pretty funny to me. On Day 13, I painted this scene and my furniture designer friend wondered why I didn't include his coffee table in the painting. I think it looks much better with it and the terrarium.

Day 16 Be extravagant

My trip to Spain last fall felt extravagant so I painted the little casita we stayed at in the town of Frigiliana. The place was pure magic, built into the rock mountainside. I am hoping to do more 3D art with the 100 Day Project. 

Day 17 What to maintain?

My bathroom routine is pretty simple so I wanted to convey that in this image of my maintenance. I don't curl or flat iron my hair (I've tried and I get bored) or spend countless hours in the bathroom. I like how this image could be for a beauty routine while camping or at home. 

Day 18 Always first steps

This one came to me quickly. I pictured a nearly all black image with feet at the start of the stairs. So I painted it. Had to throw some Converse high tops on those feet. 

Day 19 Turn it upside down

I was painting this image with the blue as the sky at the Maker's Market over the weekend. A customer came by and said, "Whoa! You are painting that upside down?" When I turned it around I saw what he meant with the yellow as the sky and blue as water. So, it changed. 

Day 20 When is it for?

Now or never. That's when it's for. I have been meaning to make this as a book painting for my Fake Book series on wood. I decided to just go ahead and to this on paper. More of these are coming this summer.